Sunday, December 09, 2007

Google Calendar

I like Google Calendar for several reasons:

#1 – it’s a well designed piece of software. when I say well-designed, I mean every click is thought out, keystroke shortcuts are there, logging in is quick, adding and changing things is quick, and the whole experience is pleasant because it’s not polluted with any obvious “this doesn’t make sense” behaviors. It’s also build around a work flow rather then around the data structure (more on this later, maybe in a separate article)

#2 – consistent with the SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) principles, Google Calendar is a “loosely-coupled” service that provides very well defined interfaces.

There are several things I look for in a calendar:

1) Quick access. anything more then a single click will not work when you’re talking to someone on a phone and need to pull up your schedule.

2) Universal access. what good is a calendar that doesn’t have the latest information every time I look at it?

3) Calendar aggregation. For those not familiar with the concept, each one of us has multiple calendars they pay attention to. You may have multiple calendars of your own (work, social, etc), or may want to subscribe to other calendars (holidays, portfolio companies earnings, school, family, etc).. Tracking all these things on one calendar in a “subscription” fashion is probably one of the biggest advancements in calendaring as of late. That are only a small number of programs that allow one to do this neatly, and as the number of “calendar providers” grows (as it should), it is this feature in my mind that’s going to be worth its weight in gold. (think again about subscribing to the kids’ school calendars, or a local venue for the events)

Google Calendar has some more notable and interesting features, like built-in RSVPs, and ability to publish events or whole calendars easily.

My Wish List:

1) Since Google has another very useful service Google Maps with directions and trip time estimations, I would love it if it told me when to leave for an appointment (based again on the address that I entered in the address field of the appointment)

2) A task list that’s tied to the appointment item, and that I can then review along-side (or outside) the calendar and that can prompt me that I have an appointment coming up tomorrow but there are still 3 things outstanding that need to be done for it.

Since this blog is mainly targeted at small organizations looking to leverage the best new technology has to offer, I think Google Calendar represents a huge potential for them. Various schools and organizations can publish out their schedules without the need to call people or send out update notifications. Performance Venues can do the same by publishing and updating the schedules on the fly. Stores can publish their sales and other promotions. If you haven’t yet thought about the ways to capitalize on this technology, I strongly encourage you to do so.

UPDATE: I just downloaded GoogleSync to synchronize with Blackberry, it works like a champ!